How To Get W2 From A Previous Employer?

People usually hear about the importance to pay taxes, but they really do not understand how it is done. Well, one very important document in this process is the W2. Any person that works and generates a certain earning has heard of this document and, perhaps, they have already used it to file their taxes. However, what happens if someone changes jobs before receiving their last W2? This article will help you find a solution to the problem in brief. Let us see how to get W2 from a Previous employer.

How To Get W2 From A Previous Employer?

Getting a W2 is done in two basic ways: through the IRS or through the previous employer. Both ways require a person’s attention to act on time, so their taxes are filed properly. Keep reading to know how every solution works and even about how a person can pay their taxes without a W-2. 

The IRS And W-2

The IRS is the Internal Revenue Service employed by the government of the United States. One of its main actions is to collect taxes from the working population in the country as well as to provide tax assistance to those who need it. The IRS is also in charge of tax returns. This organism is very important for the maintenance of law and integrity in the country. To guarantee this expectation, people need to pay their taxes. Here comes the importance of the W2.

The W2 is a Wage or Tax Statement issued by an employer where both earnings and taxes of the previous year are detailed. This document basically contains the total earnings that a person got in the previous year while working. The benefits (such as health care) that they got during the past year are also reflected on the W2.

The Importance Of Holding A W-2

Holding a W-2 is necessary to file a person’s annual taxes properly. By having the previous year’s W-2, an employee can:

  • Determine if they will get a tax return.
  • Determine how much they need to pay back to the IRS.
  • Know the amount of money that was withdrawn from their earnings and directed to their retirement plan and/or health insurance. 

The W-2 is commonly sent by employers. It must also be sent before the end of January. The document must be sent to those who earned more than $600 in the past year, however, people who change jobs can experience a delay in their W-2, so they are advised to request it through any of the following ways: Through the previous employer or through IRS.

Requesting A W2 Through A Previous Employer

Before reaching out to the previous employer directly, a person should:

  • Pay attention to the date, so they can request the W-2 on time in case it was not sent to them already (before the end of January). 
  • Check their inbox and spam folders carefully to be sure that they did not receive the W-2.
  • Contact the person that was in charge of the payroll at their past job and ask for the W-2. 
  • Be sure that their current address is known by the former employer. 

If all of the above takes place and yet the person does not receive their W2, they can reach out directly to their previous employer. Either sending an e-mail or making a phone call is okay; whatever works best for the person. Contacting the Human Resources department is also useful since HR can find out if the W2 was sent already and got lost in the mail or something. 

Requesting A W2 Through IRS

Although most employers do not fail to send the W-2 documents to their employees, one should always be prepared. In case a person does not receive their document and not even their direct request was answered, contacting IRS is the best choice. 

Any person can contact the IRS by calling 800-829-1040 or making an appointment. Providing the employee’s previous identification number and social security number will be required to proceed. Perhaps the IRS is not able to issue the W-2 right away, but it will send the past employer a reminder to do so. 

Making Your Taxes Without A W-2

If a person does not receive their W-2 document on time, they still must file their taxes. In this scenario, a person can:

  • Fill in an IRS Form 4868 to request an extension. By doing so, the person can have up to 6 more months to file their taxes. However, the extension should be requested before the current year’s tax filing deadline too. 
  • Use an IRS Form 4852 as a W-2 substitute. To find this form, visit the IRS website. Form 4852 can be used when a person did not receive a W-2 from their employer or when the said document contains any mistake. This form must be submitted before the current year’s tax filing deadline too. 


Lucky for everybody, there are always ways through which civilians can fulfill their duties! Many options about how to get a W-2 from a past employer were shared in this article, such as contacting the IRS or the previous job’s payroll administrator. In case a W-2 is not issued on time, a person still has plenty of chance to pay on time their taxes, either by requesting an extension or using a substitute document. Do not forget that, in both cases, taxes for the previous year must be paid!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the latest date when I can receive a W-2?

The latest date to receive a W-2 is February, 14. 

What happens if I did not change my address after I moved and my previous employer did not know?

Then, probably the W-2 was mailed to your previous address and then sent back to the employer. If this is the case, you should reach out directly to them. 

How do I update my current address?

A person must fill in a form provided by their local post office to update their address and receive all their mail (even what was sent to their previous address) to the new address. 

What happens if I receive the W-2 after I filled a Form 4852? 

In case a person receives their W-2 after filing a Form 4852, the person should fill and submit another Form (1040x) where any inaccuracy between the tax paid and the W-2 is addressed. 

How To Get W2 From A Previous Employer?

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